News Picks : Study reveals disparity in costs of journals for academic libraries
Science: Academic publishers make package deals for their journals with universities and negotiate prices secretly. The system often is accused of propping up small, unprofitable journals by riding on the value of larger journals. And there are complaints that the secrecy behind the package deals is unfair to some institutions. Now Theodore Bergstrom of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his colleagues have revealed a large disparity in what different universities are charged by three major publishers—Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley. The prices can vary widely between schools with similar numbers of professors and PhD students. However, some academic librarians say the data don't reflect historical relationships between the universities and the publishers, which can account for their ability to negotiate better deals.